Free Online Holiday Planner Calculator Helps Organize Seasonal Expenses
With the joy of the holidays comes the stress of overs-pending. Every year, many consumers overspend during the holidays and start off the New Year in debt. According to the National Retail Federation, “American shoppers will spend just under $750 on average on their holiday purchases this year, with a record percentage of shoppers buying online.”
Although retailers are anticipating an increase in holiday spending over last year, Connecticut Better Business Bureau says that doesn’t mean you have to break your budget.
BBB is teamed up with Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions to offer financial tips to help you manage your expenses and stay clear of debt.
To get started, check out our Holiday Planner Calculator, which helps you compartmentalize your holiday budget into categories such as gifts, travel and food. You set the overall budget, and adjust it depending on your needs and plans for the holiday season.
Here are some other ideas from Clearpoint for sticking to a budget:
Make a list -Jot down a list of the people who – whether naughty or nice - you intend to give a gift to.
Set a Limit - Look at your budget to see how much you can afford to spend in total and then set limits for the amounts you will spend on each person.
Do your research - Many retailers are offering holiday deals, but it’s always a good idea to comparison shop. Online prices may be better, but don’t forget to factor in shipping costs. This year many retailers are willing to match prices from online competitors.
Plan your purchases - Decide on what items you will buy online and which items you will purchase at local retailers. Go to www.bbb.org to check out their BBB Business Reviews before you shop.
Make your holidays merry and bright with a plan, a budget and the resolve to stick to it. Come January, you can start the New Year with a clean slate instead of a stack of bills and heavy credit card debt.
-Submitted by Howard Schwartz Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau